Palawan — Responsive and data-driven policy support for cross-border trades, efficient transportation systems and talent sharing, together with a need for a common ICT platform for all four countries, were the recurring demands of the private sector from the governments of the member nations of the BIMP-EAGA (Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area) seen to be necessary to facilitate continuous industry growth in the region, especially when it comes to ICT. This was during the LIVEX (Livelihood Exchange) Forum held at the Asturias Hotel, Puerto Princesa City, 25 June 2019.
Mr. Jonathan De Luzuriaga, NICP President, during his keynote speech, suggested the development of a common platform for the four nations, following suit to the DICT’s digitalPH initiative as a means to promote collaboration.
“Maybe it’s a good idea if we could come up with a digital portal for Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, so that we could keep track of what’s happening in our respective jurisdiction and make it as a marketplace,” he said.
Mr. Juan Olea, of MondeB2B, later shared a story where data-driven government policy intervention helped connect fruit pulp suppliers from Ecuador to a market in Guatemala. “…when they looked at the data, they weren’t able to get any sale [transactions]. They were getting the demands or the orders but they weren’t closing. Upon further analysis they realized a 50% tariff on it [the products]. So that’s where now the government, with data, can start making better decisions on how to negotiate the sales”.
LIVEX is an annual event spearheaded by the ICT CEO Forum, and as its incoming chair, Dr. Liawas Barukang, Managing Director of Sabah Net Sdn, shared his insights that echoes a similar appeal. “What the governments can do to assist the Forum is to create harmonization of policy. The four regions [countries], they have their own policy in ICT. [With a harmonized policy] It would be easy for the private sector to work out ideas without a lot of red tapes,” Dr. Liawas said.
He continued to add that a common government policy in sharing ICT talent across countries, between Malaysia and Philippines, for example, where the Philippines enjoys a bigger talent pool when it comes to ICT, could actually facilitate faster growth in the sector. Special visa and allowance arrangements are some of the policies he is looking the governments to explore.
Liawas is also optimistic that if transportation systems between the four nations could improve, as well as a common platform can be developed, then enhanced collaboration would follow. “We don’t have that much of a common platform, so there is not much things we do together in terms of digital economy,” Liawas said this pointing out that this is despite each country being advanced individually in terms of digital economy.
LIVEX is a precursor to the BIMP-EAGA ICT Cluster Meeting on the following day, 26th of June, wherein the concerns of the private sector shall be presented together with their project proposals to the Cluster composed of official representatives of the member countries.
In closing the event, Assistant Secretary for Infostructure Management and Special Concerns of the Department of Information and Communications Technology, Alan A. Silor, assured an audience of business executives, founders and delegations from Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia, that the Philippines is steadfast in following through with its commitments to the subregional organization and its stakeholders, saying, “Together, we will continue to lay the necessary groundwork for setting up a robust infostructure build-out coupled with effective policy frameworks that are forward responsive, technology neutral and underpinned on convergence and open-access.”